Who Is Wonder Woman: A Look At The Character Pre and Post New 52

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Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

There are few characters in comics that have experienced as much change to their identity as Wonder Woman has. Over the course of the last 60 plus years, Diana has been written in a plethora of different ways -- not all of the good. Still, the character with such a convoluted history has come to represent strength, independence and feminism. The question is not only whether she should, but also who is she?

Wonder Woman: The Feminist Icon?

Before you ask, the question mark at the end of the header above is there for a reason. I think a lot of people who read or have read Wonder Woman in the past have an opinion on whether or not the character is or should be considered a feminist icon. On the one hand, Wonder Woman is this embodiment of female empowerment. She is depicted as being as strong and as capable as Superman, particularly when the character was first introduced in William Moulton Marston's original series. She's been shown to be a proponent of equality on many occasions and has stood for the rights of women to be seen as equal to men. On the other hand, as time went on, Diana's character changed. There were moments where she was seen as more pin-up girl than ass-kicking super heroine in her later, Silver Age appearances.

== TEASER ==

It can be argued that Diana's progression as a character didn't quite match up with the progression of second-wave feminism which lasted (globally) from roughly around the 1960's to the 1990's, but that her series and her character did address a lot of second-wave feminist issues (sexuality, family, workplace, etc), even if she may not have always fallen on the side of the movement itself. In issue #203 of WONDER WOMAN Diana and her friend Cathy deal with one of the largest second-wave feminist issues of the 1970's: equal pay and equal treatment for women in the workplace. In this issue, Diana reveals that she is "all about equal pay," but that she "isn't a joiner." Meaning, she doesn't want to "join" her good friend Cathy's women's liberation group. You might recall an editorial Tony wrote about the issue from last year, here.

WONDER WOMAN #203

It's certainly interesting that the creators behind this issue chose to present Diana in this way considering she grew up on an island full of women and would therefore have had some understanding of "sisterly bond." In fact, one could argue that the fact that Diana "is not a joiner" is a far cry from what her heritage as an Amazon represented and depicted in her early appearances. Yet, regardless of whether you agree with Diana's characterization here; her comic was still addressing a major socio-political issue at the time. This is a good thing, even if it did sort of make Wonder Woman's character look bad.

Who is (or was) she? What defines her?

Although her series was dealing with feminist issues, was she a feminist at all? Who was Wonder Woman really? I think we all know the origin of Wonder Woman; birthed from clay and molded by her mother the Queen of Themyscira, Diana grew up on an island full of Amazon warriors and was trained to be a warrior herself. Yet, that doesn't exactly tell us who the character is, does it? Especially not now. One of the major problems with Wonder Woman's character is the fact that not many writers who have had the opportunity to mold her have had a cohesive vision for Diana's identity. So, who is she, really? It's not exactly an easy question to answer. Coming up with adjectives to describe Wonder Woman isn't as easy as it is to describe her male counterparts, Batman and Superman.

You can say that Diana is (or at least was in her early appearances) defined by strength and confidence. In a panel from WONDER WOMAN #16 (which you can find in the reprinted WONDER WOMAN ARCHIVES v.1), Hippolyta mentions to Diana that the young Amazon warriors in training lack confidence. Diana responds to this by demonstrating her physical strength and giving the girls words of encouragement.

WONDER WOMAN #16

You see girls, there's nothing to it -- all you have to do is have confidence in your own strength.

Although this is just one example, in many of Wonder Woman's first appearances she would give speeches about the role of women in society. She would talk about how they should be strong, independent and look for strength within themselves. Much of the dialogue found in her early appearances implied that with confidence, young girls can achieve a lot. This type of commentary coming from a female character (albeit a completely fictional one) is very progressive, particularly for that era. Keep in mind that when Wonder Woman was first introduced the majority of women were confined to traditional gender roles; they stayed in the kitchen and raised the children while the men went out and worked.

WONDER WOMAN ARCHIVES, Vol. 1

William Moulton Marston first created Wonder Woman to be the "counter" to male characters like Batman and Superman. Marston didn't just introduce Diana as a female warrior birthed from a warrior clan of women, he also flipped the gender roles in his series rather frequently. In virtually every superhero book at the time women played the part of damsel in distress or girlfriend to the hero of the story. In WONDER WOMAN, however, it was often Steve Trevor who played the "damsel in distress," as you can see above.

There is a saying that behind every great man is a great woman. You can argue that Superman is a "great" man. He is, in comics, considered the ideal, and was created as a symbol for the ideal man. Protector of justice, peace and the innocent. Behind Superman, there is a great woman -- Lois Lane. So could the same be said for Wonder Woman? Just as some part of Superman is defined by his love for Lois, a great part of Wonder Woman is defined by her love for Steve Trevor.

WONDER WOMAN #1

Steve plays a very important part in Wonder Woman's comics. He, like Diana's mother, is a character that can be traced to her very first appearance. He is also the very reason why Diana opted to forgo her heritage on more than one occasion.

In the first issue of Wonder Woman, William Marston reveals that Diana saves Steve Trevor's life after the character crash lands on Paradise Island. In the panels that follow, Diana does not want to leave Steve's side at the hospital and later reveals to her mother that she is in love with him. She later fights for the opportunity to leave the island and escort Steve back to the United States, giving up her immortality in the process. Later, Diana trades places with a young woman, taking the girl's identity in order that she be by the "man she loves."

WONDER WOMAN ARCHIVES, Vol. 1

It's interesting that Marston -- a progressive a thinker focused on creating a strong independent female character -- would make love the motivation that would prompt Diana to leave Themyscira. It sort of makes me wonder how different her character would have been if she had made the decision to stay in America because she wanted to make a difference in society, and not because she wanted to be close to Steve. The decision to stay was, ultimately, because of a man. In a sense, that defines a huge aspect of her character.

This is not the only time that Diana gives up aspects of her own life in order to be closer to Steve Trevor. In the 1970's, Diana gives up her powers in order to be with Steve.To say that Steve has been a big part of Diana's history is a huge understatement. Wonder Woman has more than once given up her own happiness for a chance at greater happiness and a life with him. What is debatably the biggest decision her character ever made (the decision not to return to Themyscira) was due largely to Steve Trevor.

Who is she now?

When she was first created by William Marston, Diana's origin was the only one in comics not defined by a patriarchal society, in that her origin was not influenced by a father figure at the head of her household, tribe, or government until she was re-introduced a year ago in her latest self-titled series by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. Prior to the 'New 52,' Diana was not a descendant of a male lineage. Now she is a descendant of a male-centric dynasty (Zeus) and has also been trained to be a warrior by one of that society's most prominent male figures (Ares). So what does this change signify? Well, you can argue it changes a lot of things. One of the things that made Wonder Woman different as a character was the fact that she was raised in this matriarchal society. The notion that a matriarchal society could train a woman to be as strong physically and as fearsome as the most powerful character in the DC Universe (Superman) is a pretty empowering notion since women (for a long time) were referred to as "the weaker, gentler sex."

WONDER WOMAN #0

Post "New 52," Wonder Woman is a far cry from who she was in her early appearances written by Marston. This Wonder Woman's builds a relationship with a man (Ares) as a young girl. This Diana has a father-figure who would visit her once a year, train her and mold her. It's clear Diana respects Ares, and both characters feel -- dare I say -- love, for one another. And although it is clear that she is still trained to be a warrior by her sisters, she undergoes additional training by the God of war. However, Azzarello doesn't show us scenes of Diana's training under her mother's tutelage in this issue. It's implied that this happens off panel, but isn't something we really get to see. While this might make any long standing Wonder Woman fans a little bit uncomfortable, I think the issue redeems the character in its final pages when Diana reveals that although she's learned to be fearsome and ferocious at the hand of Ares, she's also maintained a level of compassion derived from her mother and the Amazons. As endearing as that notion is, it does imply that the Amazons could not mold a fearsome warrior on their own; as Marston originally intended. Looking back at Marston's own analysis for Diana's character in a 1943 issue of AMERICAN SCHOLAR, you see that this is actually a pretty big change.

"Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women' s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman."

One could interpret her new origin implies that her strength and power was not derived from the Amazons, but from Ares. In a sense, that sort of takes away from the vision Marston may have originally intended for the character. Yet, you can argue that this change is simply the progression of Diana's character following the death of the man who created her.

WONDER WOMAN #0

Marston technically only wrote Wonder Woman for six years. The character was first introduced in ALL-STAR COMICS #8 in 1941, and Marston died shortly after in 1947. Suffice it to say, even though Marston only wrote Diana for a few years, he still managed to leave a considerable mark on her identity and her character (and I don't even want to go into the bondage stuff). Not too long after Marston's death and Wonder Woman acquired a new writer, Frederic Wertham published his 'Seduction of the Innocent,' (1953), an attack on the comic book industry. In it he called Wonder Woman a "morbid ideal for young girls" and a "threat to masculinity" because she was a strong woman who defied the social norm of the place of women in society. The book eventually led to the creation of the Comics Code Authority which in turn led to the gradual changes made to the character.

Regardless of how you might view the character (and disregarding Marston's bondage undertones found in many of the character's early issues), the intention behind her was always good. For Marston, Wonder Woman was the solution to an industry that presented its female characters in predominantly subservient roles. Wonder Woman was created to be the counter to characters like Batman and Superman which is why Marston likely stressed that Diana come from a matriarchal society; establishing this idea that women too, without the help of men can be "strong and powerful."

There's no question that DC has developed an interesting story over the course of the last twelve months, but do the changes made to her character alter what some people feel she should represent? What do you think? Are you enjoying WONDER WOMAN?

If you enjoyed this article, I've listed some supplemental reading that helped me shape my argument, below.

Editorial: Wonder Woman - A Psychologist's Creation

Editorial: The Legacy of Wonder Woman

Interview with writer/professor Lillian S. Robinson (Wonder Women: Feminisms and Superheroes)

#1 Posted by StMichalofWilson (3670 posts) - - Show Bio

I liked the zero issue. It will be interesting to see Wonder Woman and Ares confront each other in the future.

#2 Posted by wowylied (238 posts) - - Show Bio

Never read a WW title before the new 52, one of the best new52 title in my opinion. I hope it will keep being this good.

#3 Posted by ectoborge (206 posts) - - Show Bio

I like the character I think she funny. I am perfectly happy with her new interpretation I think that Wonder Woman should not have to be the (character who fights for gender equality) by herself. Green Lantern has shown that anyone can be worthy of being a green lantern, black, white , male, female, Arab, gay, straight, or alien. I think when being a feminist becomes a character only characters trait they fall into the Lois Lane trap of not being a good role modle or interesting character.

I am a feminist myself and I think the best way to portray feminism positively ( because there is an assumption that feminism is about hating men) is to have a strong character who happens to be feminist.

#4 Posted by krspaceT (1463 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't mind it, both versions are equal. Not to mention we comic fans will complain no matter what

#5 Posted by TheRyanHimself (59 posts) - - Show Bio

Wonder Woman herself is still a strong, dependable, self reliant, capable woman. I don't think it matters so much where she got those traits as long as she's shown possessing them.

#6 Posted by BlueLantern1995 (2448 posts) - - Show Bio

I think I will get this issue. I think it will be good to collect this.

#7 Posted by Mercy_ (92558 posts) - - Show Bio

This was a great and incredibly insightful article. Enjoyable and educational read. Those links are definitely something that I'll be checking out.

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#8 Posted by DarthShap (875 posts) - - Show Bio

Sara seems to forget a fundamental change to the character and her mythos:

Pre-New 52, she was raised in a feminist utopia. The Amazons were basically smart, peaceful, moral people. They gave Diana her values.

Post-New 52, it is completely different. The Amazons are somewhat closer to the myths and as such, villains. They are amoral and barbaric, they rape, kill and abandon their children. To this day, Azzarello still has not explained from whom Wonder-Woman got her values and why she was surprised to learn who these Amazons really were. Why wasn't she taught that men do not deserve to live if she was to become queen of the Amazons in the future? If it is an Amazon belief, Amazons would teach it to their children so that they grow up hating men. In my opinion, that is a huge plot hole.

#9 Posted by Kairan1979 (16711 posts) - - Show Bio

Let's not forget the change in relationship between Diana and her sisters. She is no longer their inspiration. growing up with a nickname "Clay" and hints that she is a soulless golem.

#10 Posted by RudeCherub (6 posts) - - Show Bio

Issue #0 is great, while I was uncomfortable with teen Diana being mentored by a god, who was traditionally the villain of the piece, it comes good in the end, moreover the Owl as seen in the pic in the article is associated with Athena, so the goddess influence is yet to come? She is the god of war strategy, as Ares is the god bloodshed

Not mentioned is Perez, who added Hermes to the mix, ( adding him as godfather to Diana uniquely, as opposed to the godmothers of the Amazons ) so the male influence unique to Diana was in previous reboot. He also removed Steve Trevor as the Lois Lane Love Interest. So Steve's 'importance' is relative, first as a Gary Stu for Marston, then as more traditional male romantic role. Removed by Perez - I believe - for good narrative reasons, that strengthened Diana's heroic character, after all leaving home for the love of man seemed a weak motive.

Going back to Marston, Diana had the strength of Hercules and the speed of Mercury for example, so again there were male influences.

In short there is stuff that bothers me - but I'm reserving judgement because the story isn't any where near told yet.

#11 Posted by Lvenger (18329 posts) - - Show Bio

The way I see it, her time with Ares was simply suplementing her training with the Amazons. It doesn't detract from Marston's vision of Wonder Woman. In fact Azarrello's run fits with the last part of Marston's quore, that is Wonder Woman has been returned to a " feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman." IMO of course but Azarrello's written the best Wonder Woman story in a while. I can't wait to start reading it in December!

#12 Posted by RazzaTazz (9478 posts) - - Show Bio

Good stuff, I think I would agree throughout with your conclusions (sorry by the way that you have to read golden age WW).  I somewhat agree with Jim Lee as pertains to her (based on what he wrote as an introduction to the TPB for Odyssey) that she has always been a step behind the other superheroines, kind of like a grandmother, beloved but not cutting-edge cool.  I had kind of hoped that the new costume would have stuck, but it ended up lasting for only fourteen issues, but the costume was more repesetative of a changed attitude, one which would have made her cooler.  I am not sure if the same spirit has been captured by the new 52 version, edgy perhaps, but still very much rooted in the past.  That and the Superman kiss make this seem a lot more like 1980s style Wonder Woman (although a far better version of it) as opposed to a character that is really embracing the future.  Maybe the New Gods arc will help it out though?

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#13 Posted by KnightRise (4785 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheRyanHimself said:

Wonder Woman herself is still a strong, dependable, self reliant, capable woman. I don't think it matters so much where she got those traits as long as she's shown possessing them.

THIS

#14 Posted by RazzaTazz (9478 posts) - - Show Bio
@DarthShap said:

Post-New 52, it is completely different. The Amazons are somewhat closer to the myths and as such, villains. They are amoral and barbaric, they rape, kill and abandon their children. To this day, Azzarello still has not explained from whom Wonder-Woman got her values and why she was surprised to learn who these Amazons really were. Why wasn't she taught that men do not deserve to live if she was to become queen of the Amazons in the future? If it is an Amazon belief, Amazons would teach it to their children so that they grow up hating men. In my opinion, that is a huge plot hole.

I think to be fair that most of these answers will be forthcoming, and I am not sure at the end if they will differ too much from the past.  
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#15 Posted by ips (68 posts) - - Show Bio

the most sweeping changes the 52 version has done to WW were:

  1. making Diana flesh and blood instead of clay
  2. making Diana the daughter of Zues and sister to Heracles -- which also completely messes with actual Greek Myhthology
  3. killing off Hippolyta and the Amazons
  4. making Diana an apex warrior as the result of the God of War's training instead of Amazon training.

the new 52 stories have been fun and some of the stuff presented in it is mostly interesting and what's made the book good. but none of the above changes have added to what has sold the book and made it good. they could have told the same stories and kept the book just as interesting without making a single change that they made above.

i love wonder woman. she's always been a fantastic character. that said, the new 52 version of her has RUINED the character at it's core. all of the defining elements of the character have been broken down and eliminated. essentially the character has always been intimidating to men so they had to re-write her into something they could wrap their minds around. the writers and producers at DC didn't understand the character themselves and couldn't get behind it to write it in a way that appealed to readers and was relevant, so, they had to re-write the character, normalize and homogenize her.

@ectoborge said:

I like the character I think she funny. I am perfectly happy with her new interpretation I think that Wonder Woman should not have to be the (character who fights for gender equality) by herself. Green Lantern has shown that anyone can be worthy of being a green lantern, black, white , male, female, Arab, gay, straight, or alien. I think when being a feminist becomes a character only characters trait they fall into the Lois Lane trap of not being a good role modle or interesting character.

I am a feminist myself and I think the best way to portray feminism positively ( because there is an assumption that feminism is about hating men) is to have a strong character who happens to be feminist.

when people say things like this i get scared. there are no female lanterns from Earth after all this time. our new Arab lantern is depicted as a criminal and looks like a terrorist stereotype. the original green lantern was made gay -- so what? he's not even considered a green lantern because his origin was retconned years ago and has nothing to do with the corps. if they wanted to make a lantern gay it should have been Rayner. anyhow, what part of any of this is empowering or ground breaking?

#16 Edited by drgnx (3549 posts) - - Show Bio

I actually liked Issue 0. It painted Ares in a different light, kind of like Xena's Ares. It portrayed him as more of a victim of his powers. The entire relationship seems like the Xena-Ares relationship. It makes sense that he would train her as he was looking for escape and needed someone worthy of his mantle, someone who could be ruthless, but obviously not totally give into it as he himself did not when he could have technically killed WW twice. I wonder if this means they are going to play the god angle more as they keep digging deeper into it each issue.

#17 Posted by DarthShap (875 posts) - - Show Bio

@RazzaTazz said:

@DarthShap said:

Post-New 52, it is completely different. The Amazons are somewhat closer to the myths and as such, villains. They are amoral and barbaric, they rape, kill and abandon their children. To this day, Azzarello still has not explained from whom Wonder-Woman got her values and why she was surprised to learn who these Amazons really were. Why wasn't she taught that men do not deserve to live if she was to become queen of the Amazons in the future? If it is an Amazon belief, Amazons would teach it to their children so that they grow up hating men. In my opinion, that is a huge plot hole.

I think to be fair that most of these answers will be forthcoming, and I am not sure at the end if they will differ too much from the past.

I really do not see how. If History is of any indication, when a society feels very strongly about a hate or disdain towards certain people, they do not do anything to hide it from their children. Slave owners did not tell their children that their slaves were individuals just like them who just worked for food. Nazis were not teaching their children that Jews, communists and homosexuals were people nonetheless.

To resolve that huge plot hole, Azzarello would have to come up with a reason explaining why an entire people would completely hide all their believes from the one who would one day become their queen.

#18 Posted by Outside_85 (8132 posts) - - Show Bio

I liked the issue and I do rank the series as amongst the best of the New 52. As for the changes done, well I don't mind them really, partially because I dont think it takes anything away from the modern Wonder Woman. Even if she has a father who was cheating on his wife with her mother, and her people aren't exactly the paragons for virtue, that shouldn't affect how people actually see her as long as she continues along the line that made her so well liked in the first place.

I know some people are complaining a lot about those changes and seem to have them reflect very negatively on Diana, but I kinda think if the same logic was applied to someone like Scott Free?

I also get the complaints about the changes somehow implies that women can't do A or B with a man being involved. To that I say, firstly; well most of the great heroes (comic or otherwise) do just fine with having a mother and a father, and Diana is lucky enough that her mother wasn't just there and is currently much more of a character than her father is (which is almost opposite of both Superman and Batman). Secondly the raising of warrior...well I will just point at the acknowledgement Ares gives the Amazons in the panel where he and Diana first meet, the only thing about it is that Ares is looking for something far more than the Amazons or anyone other than he can actually do. So are the Amazons fierce on their own; yes they are, Diana is perhaps just the fiercest warrior of them all.

@DarthShap: Actually the #0 issues explains pretty clearly where she got her values from. Also Azzarello isn't done yet so calling out plot holes at this point is premature, since it can have been left out for a reason.

#19 Posted by RazzaTazz (9478 posts) - - Show Bio
@DarthShap: Don't get me wrong I would like it if you are right, just I think sooner or later she is going back to the older style of superhero.  
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#20 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (32735 posts) - - Show Bio

Why is everyone acting like this is the first time we have seen Ares, he has been in the book since issue #2

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#21 Posted by DarthShap (875 posts) - - Show Bio

@Outside_85 said:

@DarthShap: Actually the #0 issues explains pretty clearly where she got her values from. Also Azzarello isn't done yet so calling out plot holes at this point is premature, since it can have been left out for a reason.

It just explains the moment when she discovered mercy on her own. It does not explain what she does not know the first thing about her own people or why she grew up to be this nice, compassionate woman when she was raised by murderers and rapists and had absolutely no outside influence except War, who is not exactly more moral than the Amazons.

#22 Posted by Quintus_Knightfall (84536 posts) - - Show Bio

Niiiioce analysis.

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#23 Posted by Quintus_Knightfall (84536 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

Why is everyone acting like this is the first time we have seen Ares, he has been in the book since issue #2

I think the focus is on his new/altered role as opposed to when he appeared in what issue....

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#24 Posted by Psycho_Soldier (112 posts) - - Show Bio

I liked the reboot pre new52 and I like the one post new52, maybe they should use the 1st for another character, maybe Donna Troy

#25 Posted by Outside_85 (8132 posts) - - Show Bio

@DarthShap said:

@Outside_85 said:

@DarthShap: Actually the #0 issues explains pretty clearly where she got her values from. Also Azzarello isn't done yet so calling out plot holes at this point is premature, since it can have been left out for a reason.

It just explains the moment when she discovered mercy on her own. It does not explain what she does not know the first thing about her own people or why she grew up to be this nice, compassionate woman when she was raised by murderers and rapists and had absolutely no outside influence except War, who is not exactly more moral than the Amazons.

You missed the part at the very end then when it because of her Amazon training she spares the Minotaur, which is why it even comes to her mind that her mercy can be tribute she needs to present to her mother.

#26 Posted by DarthShap (875 posts) - - Show Bio

@Outside_85 said:

@DarthShap said:

@Outside_85 said:

@DarthShap: Actually the #0 issues explains pretty clearly where she got her values from. Also Azzarello isn't done yet so calling out plot holes at this point is premature, since it can have been left out for a reason.

It just explains the moment when she discovered mercy on her own. It does not explain what she does not know the first thing about her own people or why she grew up to be this nice, compassionate woman when she was raised by murderers and rapists and had absolutely no outside influence except War, who is not exactly more moral than the Amazons.

You missed the part at the very end then when it because of her Amazon training she spares the Minotaur, which is why it even comes to her mind that her mercy can be tribute she needs to present to her mother.

But that is just the plot hole I was talking about. These Amazons rape and kill innocent men. Why would they teach their children about mercy if they do not hold life sacred on this basic a level?

#27 Posted by Mbecks14 (2068 posts) - - Show Bio

I've been really enjoying Wonder Woman in the new 52 in her solo series. I don't love the addition to Zeus in her origin but the rest has been great! In Justice League? I don't care for her. Especially with the Superman relationship.

Interesting read though!

#28 Posted by EdBlank (492 posts) - - Show Bio

Methinks they should have just killed Super, Wonder, Martian, and all the other characters they wanted to totally re-write, then just written some new characters to fill their shoes. The viola: you can have the old origin and the new one without having to change the whole g******ed Universe. The changes are definitely someone's attempt to mainstream WW. Her lineage and upbringing being totally removed from male influence was kind of essential to her character. She doesn't seem quite so Amazonian now.

#29 Posted by Fuchsia_Nightingale (10180 posts) - - Show Bio

Excellent article. <3 n52 our not, still a fan.

#30 Posted by lightsout (1823 posts) - - Show Bio

I like the character a lot, but not I have not read any of her own issues (aside from the one involving Max Lord's death, just as a part of the lead up to IC). I'm that way with a lot of characters though, I like them as part of a team (Justice League, etc), but I don't have the desire when it's them as the sole star & they're surrounded by their specific support characters & villains (who may not interest me as much). Maybe I'd like her books (I do like traditional Greek myth stuff), but it's low on my list right now. (I guess like her as that compliment to Supes & Batman (my 2 favorite characters)).

#31 Posted by neiliusprime (247 posts) - - Show Bio

Wonder Woman has been great in the Justice League, her origin in the new 52 is ok, not terrible at all, but its not impressive.

#32 Posted by Miss_Garrick (1757 posts) - - Show Bio

The times when I've felt Wonder Woman was at her best was

1: When George Perez reinvented her post "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and made her be all about love but not in a wussy way. I also think it was a good idea that he changed Steve Trevor from a love interest to a brother like relationship. That was an improvement.

2: When Phil Jimeniz was the writer. Some of my favorite issues are during this period.

I've only managed to read one issue of the current series, but I really like how she is done as she will have her kindness, but she is a no-nonsense type of person.

#33 Posted by Outside_85 (8132 posts) - - Show Bio

@DarthShap said:

@Outside_85 said:

@DarthShap said:

@Outside_85 said:

@DarthShap: Actually the #0 issues explains pretty clearly where she got her values from. Also Azzarello isn't done yet so calling out plot holes at this point is premature, since it can have been left out for a reason.

It just explains the moment when she discovered mercy on her own. It does not explain what she does not know the first thing about her own people or why she grew up to be this nice, compassionate woman when she was raised by murderers and rapists and had absolutely no outside influence except War, who is not exactly more moral than the Amazons.

You missed the part at the very end then when it because of her Amazon training she spares the Minotaur, which is why it even comes to her mind that her mercy can be tribute she needs to present to her mother.

But that is just the plot hole I was talking about. These Amazons rape and kill innocent men. Why would they teach their children about mercy if they do not hold life sacred on this basic a level?

I can explain that through there either being a code of honor amongst them that allows them the option to offer it to a worthy opponent. Second option is that because of what men has done to them, the Amazons consider them little more than beasts and as such dont have such rights. Last option is the still lingering question whenever it actually happens as Eros and Hepheastus say it does (they are after all men and apparently only have the version they have either been told (by people who have an interest in making the most horrible version the official one, even if its not true) or made up on their own). Finally I dont really think the notion of mercy just pops into someone's head if they've been taught from childhood never to show it to anyone.

#34 Posted by Botiste (50 posts) - - Show Bio

Excluding men from Diana DNA does not make her less of a strong character. I personally believe in interdependent relationships. Women were made from man, and every man is born of a woman. We need each other. Most women have male relationships at some capacity of there life and that does not weaken the character or the beauty of what a woman is. An island full of black men or Asian women does not show independent strength no more the an of island white women, and there are fewer blacks and Asian then there are women in comics. Wonder Woman's strength comes from her character and not solely on her gender. (just my opinion)

#35 Posted by CircularLogic (282 posts) - - Show Bio

What people seem to forget about issue Zero is that before joining Ares for training, Wonder Woman was still painted as an Amazon able to beat her peers without equal. Ares is the god of War, and as such, would be the only non-Amazon capable of making Wonder Woman even stronger than before.

I think Brian Azzarello at worst simply writes each character without paying much attention to gender.

#36 Posted by x_29 (2274 posts) - - Show Bio

I like new 52 Wonder Woman much more than classic WW.

#37 Posted by DarthShap (875 posts) - - Show Bio

@Outside_85 said:

@DarthShap said:

@Outside_85 said:

@DarthShap said:

@Outside_85 said:

@DarthShap: Actually the #0 issues explains pretty clearly where she got her values from. Also Azzarello isn't done yet so calling out plot holes at this point is premature, since it can have been left out for a reason.

It just explains the moment when she discovered mercy on her own. It does not explain what she does not know the first thing about her own people or why she grew up to be this nice, compassionate woman when she was raised by murderers and rapists and had absolutely no outside influence except War, who is not exactly more moral than the Amazons.

You missed the part at the very end then when it because of her Amazon training she spares the Minotaur, which is why it even comes to her mind that her mercy can be tribute she needs to present to her mother.

But that is just the plot hole I was talking about. These Amazons rape and kill innocent men. Why would they teach their children about mercy if they do not hold life sacred on this basic a level?

I can explain that through there either being a code of honor amongst them that allows them the option to offer it to a worthy opponent. Second option is that because of what men has done to them, the Amazons consider them little more than beasts and as such dont have such rights. Last option is the still lingering question whenever it actually happens as Eros and Hepheastus say it does (they are after all men and apparently only have the version they have either been told (by people who have an interest in making the most horrible version the official one, even if its not true) or made up on their own). Finally I dont really think the notion of mercy just pops into someone's head if they've been taught from childhood never to show it to anyone.

I could pop up upon realisation of what killing really means. And beyond that, even if there is some code of honour between warriors etc..., it still does not explain why Wonder-Woman did not know about how the entire culture that raised her felt about men and life in general until she was in her late twenties. Why wasn't she taught that men do not deserve to live?

#38 Posted by 00 Raiser (442 posts) - - Show Bio

To be totally honest, I was never crazy about reading Wonder Woman in the past. She was always one of those characters that I liked to see animated versus reading about. My first real introduction to the character was the TV show when I was little but my memorable image of her is from the WB's Justice League and Justice League Unlimited that aired on Cartoon Network. The Wonder Woman in the JL and JLU animated series started out a bit like the classic Wonder Woman but he learned what the rest of the world was like and adapted and interacted with it and you saw how she changed in many ways I could understand and relate to the character. Wonder Woman before the new 52 didnt really have that or at least for me she didnt come off that way. In the new 52 we see Diana in JL issue 3 and she clearly is fresh off of Paradise Island. You can hear it in my way she talks. But in the new 52 Wonder Woman she has adjusted to he new surroundings and moved in England. Her dialect has changed to a more modern dialect and she has become closer to the image of the Wonder Woman I like and I think a lot more people have a easy time identifying with the Wonder Woman in the new 52 versus the past Woman Woman.

#39 Posted by SolthesunGod (278 posts) - - Show Bio

This was a great article. Very informative. I'm glad you explained the point you made in your review of Wonder Woman's #0 in greater detail. At the time I wasn't sure exactly what your gripe was. I did really enjoy this article but I disagree with you on Wonder Woman's compassion. I don't think it comes from either Ares or her mother. I think it's unique to her and what differentiates her from her sisters. The Amazons go out into the world sleep with men, kill them and then sell their male offspring. As a culture they are extremely brutal and from the perspective of our society I would view that as pretty heartless.

I think what makes the current Diana unique among the Amazons is that she developed a higher sense of morality and a belief in equality despite her upbringing in a society that favours one gender over the other in an even worse way than our own. I think an argument could be made that Amazonian society is worse to men than middle-eastern societies are to women. Maybe Wonder Woman has gone in a different direction but I think it's again, arguable that the woman she is now is even more of a proponent of equality than she was originally because she grew up in such a brutal and gender supremacist society and credit to her she evolved past her upbringing thanks to herself. I think it's possible to see her as progressive character now too.

Zeus' line also started with Gaia so technically she's still from a matriarchal line. Gaia's parent Chaos as I understand it was genderless.

#40 Posted by wdchefdave (136 posts) - - Show Bio

Every decade thinks that they know who/what she is.

She has survived many decades without much help.

If it ain't broke... don't fix it.

She is Wonder Woman.

Stay close to the "core"... and everything should work out just fine.

(You can act like an idiot and just yell Wonder Woman, Batman, or Superman outdoors in a crowd... and almost everyone will know what you just yelled. And, who.)

#41 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio

I'll be the first to admit that I never consistently read Diana's solo series before the Reboot and that generally my understanding of her comes from her depiction in the DCAU. I LOVE that take on Diana and Azz' characterization is highly in tune with that and it works just great for me. Diana should be compassionate, loving, have a strong sense of justice and also be able to lower the boom when necessary. Thus far I've seen all of these characteristics in the current Wonder Woman series.

#42 Posted by cbishop (7098 posts) - - Show Bio
"Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women' s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman."

This quote from Marston seems to show a flaw in his initial theory. How do you write a character that has "force, strength and power," but is also "tender, submissive [and] peace-loving as good women are?" No wonder writers differ on how to portray her.

I still don't think Ares training her negates the matriarchal influence on her character. In the #0 issue, Ares chooses to train Diana because he observed that she already had impressive skills. He augmented that with skills the Amazons didn't teach, in an attempt to turn her into what he wanted her to be. In the end, Diana's sense of self shined through, and she stood against Ares. So she learned more from him, without sacrificing her own ideals.

This was debated in the thread for your #0 review, so this article is a great follow-up. Thanks for putting the time into this, Sara.

#43 Posted by DMC (1550 posts) - - Show Bio

Oh Wonder Woman, what have they done to you?

Nice article Sara

#44 Posted by Buffy64 (1 posts) - - Show Bio

Though I am enjoying Azzarello's writing and and character development and Chiang's artwork, I for one am not happy with the change in Wonder Woman's mythology. It just convolutes the character even more. I believe this current incarnation further solidifies the misogynist culture we live in. I think it is an insult to have given her a father, a male trainer and to take away her true heritage as a stand alone female warrior. It's like the writers wanted to create a character everyone could relate to. News flash - Wonder Woman is not a character to relate to, she is a character to aspire towards. Why else has Wonder Woman not been made into a movie? To create a female warrior not in need a male savior or love interest, one that thinks for herself as well as promotes intelligence and peace is what every Hollywood female-centric movie is against. George Perez's iteration of Wonder Woman, I felt was the most true to the character that Marston had created and it also helped usher her into the present day, touching on the human aspects of the character and promoting her mission. After Perez it seemed like every writer had to pose "Who IS Wonder Woman?" as if no one knew, let alone the character herself. These different incarnations has led Wonder Woman to be multi-fragmented as well as unapproachable and misunderstood. Further proof with the Wonder Woman character being completely different in the "The New 52" Justice League from the character in the WW stand alone book. Very frustrating! How ironic that the most well known and oldest 'female' comic hero is still not understood or accepted for what she really is and what she stands for. Though the article above is well written and researched, all it does is further the dilemma, "Who is Wonder Woman?" I have been reading the character since the 80's. I have read every issue from her incarnation to present and despite the changes, mis-continuities I have always understood her, her mission and what she stands for. It seems to me just about every writer as well as Hollywood does not want to accept her for who and what she is.

#45 Posted by darth_brendroid (1717 posts) - - Show Bio

@ips said:

the most sweeping changes the 52 version has done to WW were:

  1. making Diana the daughter of Zues and sister to Heracles -- which also completely messes with actual Greek Myhthology

It's pretty hard to mess with something like Greek mythology, which is effectively a cultural Chinese Whispers. I'm studying it at the moment and, I'm not saying the opinions expressed in that course reflect the reality, but it suggests rather that mythologies were disparate stories created by unconnected individuals that shared some characters. There are I believe at least two different accounts of the creation of the universe within Greek Mythology, for instance, and parentage is arbitrarily created depending on the importance of a character in a myth (thereby giving them some grounding as a character linked in with a plethora of pre-existing characters).

#46 Edited by Comiclove5 (1255 posts) - - Show Bio

@wowylied said:

Never read a WW title before the new 52, one of the best new52 title in my opinion. I hope it will keep being this good.

I did read WW before the New 52, but I was considering dropping it after that horrible Odyssey storyline.

#47 Posted by lightsout (1823 posts) - - Show Bio

Just to comment on it - Though not being a reader of her issues-themselves, I'm not a fan of making Zeus her father, just because the "made of clay" thing was better IMO. It had some old-school goofiness to it, it showed the isolation of the Amazons (her mom had to "make" a kid), and it gave reason to the "can take a beating but cutting/piercing things still hurt her" (you could cut/poke clay, but if you smack it w/something of a larger surface area, it keeps shape)

#48 Posted by StarKiller809 (1237 posts) - - Show Bio

I think that Wonder Woman isn't the same character she was 70 years ago but neither is Superman or Batman. All these character have to evolve and when that happens, we gets something that is slightly different but interesting because it's new. Batman has become much darker then his first few appearances and people like it. Superman has become a symbol for peace and so on. However, whenever they try to update Wonder Woman to make her more interesting, people backlash against the changes saying 'DC hates women' and that is just a silly assumption to me.   
 
Character must evolve to stay relevant and interesting and Wonder Woman has needed this for a while. Brian Azzarello has done a good job at this by changing the old and updating it with new. and guess what, she's interesting. Wonder Woman still has those morals that she wants to do good and she protects the things closest too her and her mercy and this was stressed in issues #0. She said no to Ares, a man, she managed to defeat him with her own ways. She still is strong in a new way but she's interesting. 
 
Anyways, Wonder Woman will always be a cool character but now she is this cool character that I don't have to read the old stuff to enjoy. I can turn to a new comic every week and see a kick ass Wonder Woman story and I'm fine with that. 

#49 Posted by divingfalcon713 (282 posts) - - Show Bio

Loved preNew52 Wonder Woman and I've been very impressed with the reboot version as well.

I actually like the idea that Ares is one of her mentors now (some part of me always wanted to see a version of him that wasn't her quintessential bad guy). He taught her how to be the fiercest warrior on the planet after himself: something I feel only the God of War could do. Also, she isn't losing her sense of self because she was taught by a man. She is still compassionate and dedicated to her values despite what Ares may have wanted her to do. The Wonder Woman that I loved was the one who could make the call between offering someone her hand or her sword and being ok with whatever decision she made, no matter who it may have pissed off. That shows in issue #0 IMO. She understands what she can gain from Ares, and certainly respects him for what he's taught her, but she values what the Amazons and her mother taught her more (enough to defy Ares).

On a side note, I'm really excited to see how Azz handles her interaction with Athena. Loved seeing that owl watch Diana go into the forest. Maybe she'll supplant what Ares taught her with the battle tactics to use her skill to the fullest ability. Really amplify Diana's own sense of when fighting is necessary or when it's not. Also, this could lead to her being a shrewd politician and emissary, having the wisdom and guidance of Athena (that includes civilization, law, and strategy).

#50 Posted by Slugg22 (14 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm disappointed that her origin shifted in the New 52. Not only because of the implication that WW needed a males help to become the ultimate warrior, but also because, to an extent, it has detracted from her totally unque origin story. Sometimes it seems like origins are cookie-cutter, and no one could have said that of her original origin.

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